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Cautious Jhandewalan, muted Kalkaji as Navratri begins

Earlier, with Durga Puja round the corner and heralding the festival season, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) last Sunday issued fresh guidelines for holding gatherings, with strict adherence to Covid-19 protocols.

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Kalkaji Temple

New Delhi, Oct 17 : With the first day of Navratri on Saturday, the festival season has begun. But unlike other years, the pandemic is a major concern for most of Delhi’s iconic temples like Jhandewalan and Kalkaji, who are taking measures to strike a balance between honouring religiosity and adhering to COVID precautions. In others like the Noida Kali Bari, ‘bhog’ (prasad) distribution and ‘dhak’ have become things of the past.

The Jhandewalan temple situated near Delhi’s Karol Bagh is dedicated to the Goddess Aadi Shakti. The shrine is said to be built at the same place where an ardent devotee named Badri Bhagat had dreamt of an idol hidden under the ground, ages ago. After excavation, he had discovered the image of the Goddess. Ever since, the temple has held an iconic place in Delhi’s socio-religious life and all the more so during the 9 days of Navratri. The temple will open at 4 in the morning and close after 12 in the night, everyday.

However, this year the crowd has been comparatively thinner on the first day. This is predominantly because of the raging pandemic. At the main entrance, there is a temple assistant who provides hand sanitizer that every devotee has to use. Then there’s a second step where a paramedic checks the temperature. The devotee will be allowed to proceed further only if it is normal. Moreover, it will be a revolving crowd that won’t be allowed to stop. During darshan, devotees have to wear face masks and maintain adequate distance from each other.

In south Delhi’s Kalkaji, another iconic temple stop in Delhi, the rules are almost the same — sanitize hands, temperature check, wear face mask and maintain physical distance. However, when an IANS correspondent visited the temple, it was seen that physical distancing was not being maintained outside the gate where devotees queue up. But the rules of physical distancing were being observed inside the temple premises.

Devotees can have ‘darshan’ from a distance at Kalkaji temple. However, a priest confirmed to IANS that neither offering prasad, nor getting it in return, is being allowed this time.

CR Park, which is the heart of Durga Puja celebrations in the national capital, is muted this year with almost all Puja Committees having decided against holding Puja that attracts hundreds and thousands of people. However, the iconic Kali temple will hold a Durga Puja in a “very small fashion”. No Dhak, no outsiders.

It may not be in Delhi, but Noida’s Sector 26 Kali Bari holds one of the biggest Durga Puja in the suburbs. Free lunch for days, cultural activities and a big crowd — all will be replaced with a simple ghat (kalash) Puja where the organizing committee has decided against even a Goddess Durga idol.

Earlier, with Durga Puja round the corner and heralding the festival season, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) last Sunday issued fresh guidelines for holding gatherings, with strict adherence to Covid-19 protocols.

The order stipulates separate entry and exit at every event site, crowd regulation in terms of allowing only people with face masks, among other measures. In closed venues, upto 50 per cent of the hall capacity is allowed, which should not cross 200, while in open areas, the size of the ground and the Union Home Ministry’s SOPs will determine the numbers of individuals.

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Delhi Police organise job fair under YUVA scheme

Delhi Police have tied up with the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) for imparting job-linked skill training to the selected youth.

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New Delhi: To ensure that the youth earn their livelihood by good means and refrain from wrongdoings, approximately 125 job aspirants were interviewed by 19 employers in a job fair organised under the YUVA scheme by the Delhi Police at the Surajmal Institute in Janakpuri.

“YUVA is an initiate of Delhi Police to rehabilitate the youth and to bring them on good path,” West Delhi DCP Deepak Purohit said.

The initiative by Delhi Police aims to connect with the youth by upgrading their skills as per their competencies. It will help them get gainful employment under the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna of the Ministry of Skill Development.

Delhi Police have tied up with the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) for imparting job-linked skill training to the selected youth.

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Karnataka Legislative Council polls: EC defers counting from Nov 3 to 10

There are 2.35 lakh voters in these four constituencies who exercised their franchise in as many 549 polling stations set up across these constituencies.

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BJP and Congress Flag Poster

Bengaluru: The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Saturday announced that it had decided to postpone the counting of votes for four Legislative Council seats in Karnataka from November 2 to 10.

The decision was taken following a memorandum submitted by the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee on Saturday, appealing that any outcome of Legislative Council polls will have a direct impact on Assembly by-polls to Rajarajeshwari Nagara constituency in Bengaluru and Sira in Tumkuru district which are going to polls on November 3.

The biennial polls to four Legislative council (two graduates and two teachers) seats were held on October 28 amid pandemic fears. Wherein of the total 2.35 lakh voters, nearly 70 per cent electorates had turned up defying pandemic fears.

Conceding to the Congress party’s demand, EC said in its statement that the counting of Council polls can be held after any day after November 3 but it has now decided to hold counting of these Council seats along with counting of two Assembly seats – Sira and RR Nagar – on November 10.

It may be worth noting here that the Council polls took place as these constituencies fell vacant due to the retirement of R. Chowda Reddy Thoopalli of JD(S), S. V. Sankanur of BJP, Sharanappa Mattur of Congress and Puttanna of JD(S) respectively. Of these four recontesting candidates, Puttanna has crossed over to BJP and is contesting on this party ticket.

Despite pandemic, voters’ response was overwhelming in 2020 when compared with 2014 elections held in these seats. Voting percentage rose anywhere between 13.5 per cent to 24 per cent in the constituencies.

As many as 40 candidates’ fates are sealed in ballot units who are in fray from these constituencies. Among them are the four whose retirement on June 30 warranted the elections.

There are 2.35 lakh voters in these four constituencies who exercised their franchise in as many 549 polling stations set up across these constituencies.

In the council with strength of 75 members Congress has 28 members, BJP has 27 members, Janata Dal (Secular) has 14 members, one independent, one chairman and four vacant seats.

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Delhi’s coldest October since 1962

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New Delhi, Oct 31 : The India Meteorological Department (IMD) on Saturday said that Delhi recorded the coldest month of October since 1962.

“In 2020, Delhi recorded the mean minimum temperature of 17.2 degrees Celsius in October, which is the lowest since 1962 when it was 16.9 degrees Celsius at Safdarjung monitoring station.”

The IMD scientist said that the dip is due to calm winds and absence of cloud cover over the capital city, adding that the minimum temperature will further plummet to 10 degrees Celsius on November 1.

The national capital had also logged the minimum temperature of 12.5 degrees Celsius, the lowest in 26 years in the month of October, on Thursday. The lowest-ever temperature was logged in 1937 at 9.4 degrees Celsius, Srivastava added.

According to the IMD, the capital city generally records a mean minimum temperature of 19.1 degrees Celsius in the month of October.

Besides this, the maximum and minimum temperature will hover around 31.4 and 13 degrees Celsius on Saturday. Wind speed will be 11.1 kmph. The sky will also remain clear.

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